Thread: Is this legal?
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Old May 3, 2006, 06:35 PM   #15
James K
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Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,383
That "secret rule" about measuring with the stock extended was made for one firearm, the M1A1 carbine, some of which were sold by the Army through DCM back in the 50's. Since the government cannot break its own laws, those guns must have been legal (like the 17 7/8" barrel carbines sold the same way - the law was changed), hence the "stock extended" rule, which BATFE does not publish but which they have acknowledged in writing.

IIRC, they say if the gun cannot be easily fired with the stock folded, the measurement is with the stock extended. The M1A1 carbine, they say, is not easily fired with the stock folded. But that is not true of some other folding/collapsible stocks, so the whole thing becomes a matter of interpretation. Of course, interpretation can only come from a court, which means the guy with the folder gets arrested, put in jail, pays through the nose for bond, etc., etc., and picks up an arrest record even if he is not convicted. Not really worth it for 1" of barrel or stock.

Part of the problem is that what the lawmakers had in mind was not folding or collapsible stocks but sawed off stocks. They never even thought of folding stocks, since in 1968 those were mainly encountered in submachineguns, which are controlled by another part of the law. (MG's, incidentally, are not subject to any of those rules.)

If building a rifle/shotgun, it is easier to just add any difference onto the barrel and forget about it. Unless, of course, you are just going to play games and get thrills by skating close to the edge and thumbing your nose at BATFE. If so, get ready to mortgage the house to make bail.


Jim
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